February 2, 2009 Subject:
My family once owned the original 20-volume set of Stoddard's Lectures. As a child I spent long hours reading about the world and traveling to distant places via the pictures in each volume. I recall a section in the book on China that had two photos of an execution by sword. The two condemned men were kneeling with the execution standing to one side with a long sword. The next photo showed the men on the ground with their severed heads in front of them. These terrified me - and yet intrigued me enough to look at them many times. This was long before images like this became routine on television or in newspapers today. Although dated by modern standards, these lectures opened the world in the early 20th century for many people who were at best arm-chair travelers. For me, it sparked my interest in "seeing the world," which I got to do for 20 years as a correspondent and news executive with Reuters. I wish I could find a complete set at a reasonable price for my library.
Chuck Kershner, Clinton, NY